Soldiers hurry about, doing their daily duties while immersed in round-the-clock operations designed to replicate realistic combat conditions as closely as possible.
It is all part of the twice-a-year Network Integration Evaluation which turns the vast Fort Bliss training area into a giant testing ground for the latest Army equipment used mostly for its communications and data networks.
About 3,800 soldiers from Fort Bliss' 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division are participating in the exercise this month. The idea is to test network and communications equipment under austere conditions using real soldiers in the field, said Col. Jim Crider, deputy commander of the Brigade Modernization Command, which plans and manages the NIE, as it is more commonly called.
Another 1,200 soldiers and Department of Defense civilian employees from around the Army also came out to support the exercise as data collectors and observer-controllers. New equipment is placed in Army vehicles and is used by soldiers. It is also jostled around as soldiers go about their combat missions during the exercise. More